What Is a Pharmacy Technician?

Derek Sincavage By Derek Sincavage, 10th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Managing Health Care

A basic overview of the duties and functions of a pharmacy technician

What Is a Pharmacy Technician?

A pharmacy technician is a member of the pharmacy staff who works under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Though there are many important tasks the pharmacy technician performs, the technician's primary duties are filling and dispensing prescription drugs and working one-on-one with doctor's offices and insurance companies to provide the patient with the highest quality health care services he or she deserves.

The need for pharmacy technicians is rapidly increasing. Pharmacy technicians can work in a variety of locations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, on average, 75% of pharmacy technicians work in an independently owned or chain retail setting, while 16% of technicians work in hospitals. Though less common, mail-order pharmacies and Internet pharmacies have experienced an increase in popularity in recent years, providing even more job opportunities for pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy techs often perform the routine tasks of the pharmacy, such as counting, filling, and preparing prescribed medications, providing drugs to patients, maintaining pharmacy inventory, and filing prescription information and other important documents. Occasionally the technician may perform other tasks, such as the compounding of medications or taking verbal prescriptions and doctor calls, however some state laws require that only the pharmacist can perform such tasks. Only a licensed pharmacist may counsel patients on proper usage of their medications. The pharmacist also checks all medications prepared by the pharmacy technician before they are given to the patient.

Most states do not require formal schooling to become a pharmacy technician, however a certification exam is often necessary. Pharmacy technician requirements are determined by each state's Board of Pharmacy.


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Meet the author

author avatar Derek Sincavage
A former office temp, overnight warehouse worker, morning radio show co-host, and pharmacy technician, I now spend most of my free time as a freelance writer. I attended university, majoring in film and media production, with an added interest in scr...(more)

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